The leaves are falling off and some are turning brown while still attached. I've included two photos below. I planted the plant 2 years ago into the ground. The soil is pretty sandy. It receives full sunlight around 8 hours a day. My USDA zone is 10b.

plumeria tree showing browning leaves plumeria tree showing browning leaves

How do I know whether I have a pest problem or if this is part of the changing seasons? It is currently November in South Florida.

  • How long have you had the plant? Is it growing in the ground or in a pot, and how long has it been growing outdoors? What type of soil is it growing in, and how much light does it receive? What's your USDA zone?
    – Bamboo
    Nov 3, 2017 at 16:57
  • @Bamboo I have updated my question with answers to yours. Unfortunately I don't know too much more about the soil or than it's pretty sandy. I haven't had it tested to know more.
    – Ryan Gates
    Nov 6, 2017 at 2:11

3 Answers 3


That's a very sick Plumeria; couple of possibilities, which are, maybe the soil ph is too alkaline, they prefer soil on the acid side, but that doesn't explain the browning. Check beneath the leaves because the other possibility is Plumeria rust, which starts out as yellow, powdery spots under the leaves, with yellow mottling on top, till eventually,the leaves go completely yellow, then brown and drop off. If its that, its too late to save this plant I think - more information here https://www.hunker.com/13426737/my-plumeria-leaves-are-turning-yellow

  • Thank you for linking to the article. There are spots under the leaves. The article mentions wiping it down with rubbing alcohol to prevent spreading. Will doing that help it come back?
    – Ryan Gates
    Nov 7, 2017 at 2:49
  • It doesn't say that, actually, it talks about wiping your tools down with alcohol, not the plant, so you don't reinfect or spread it to other plumeria - let me just read it again...
    – Bamboo
    Nov 7, 2017 at 10:01
  • yep, as I thought - there is no treatment for this infection, other than to remove badly affected leaves and clear away any fallen material. In this case, that means removing all the leaves, so I think its too late. If you decide to replace it, don't for some months, remove the mulch and if that area doesn't receive much airflow, find another spot to plant - and monitor the plant for the infection,, removing any leaves affected early,, before it spreads.
    – Bamboo
    Nov 7, 2017 at 10:09

It's too cold. Cover it with painters sheet of plastic clear drop cloth if temps get to 40. If temps get to 20 bring it to sheltered area or inside. Leave it alone. It will come back in spring. Water in winter less than in summer


In my case, this seems to be a seasonal dropping of the leaves or the plumeria has beat the infection. Here's a picture of the tree on May 13, 2018.

enter image description here

The leaves have returned on all the branches and it continues to grow. I haven't done anything to the plant either (e.g. fertilizer, prune, etc.).

  • Yes, all species of plumeria (except for one, of course) drop their leaves seasonally - in the winter, like in November.
    – Tim Nevins
    May 14, 2018 at 15:38

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